CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – The coronavirus pandemic halted cruise lines from Canada to Cleveland and the Great Lakes.
And since the Canadian border is still closed, that may not change anytime soon.
Some people see Cleveland for the first time from a cruise ship.
Cleveland Harbor welcomes tourists on the shores of Lake Erie.
“Most of them come from Europe, other parts of the world. So it really was a fine example for Cleveland, ”said Jade Davis, vice president of foreign affairs for the Port of Cleveland.
The Great Lakes cruise was just starting to pick up speed.
Tourists from all over Europe boarded ships in Canada and ended up stopping here.
Cruise ships docked in Cleveland Harbor in 2017 with just nine ships.
That was 22 ships in 2018 and 28 ships in 2019.
40 ships were supposed to dock here in 2020, but the pandemic changed that to zero.
“So what we didn’t see is that they are picked up again at all. And part of that is due to the current US border closure to travelers, ”Davis said.
They do not expect any cruise ships this year either.
Davis isn’t sure when things will get back to normal.
“I think there is still interest from the cruise lines, the public interest from people who want to go back to cruising as soon as possible,” he said.
Two years without a cruise brought economic loss to the Cleveland area.
Tourists visit places like the Rock Hall, our restaurants and shops.
According to estimates by the port, around 4,000 cruise passengers landed here in 2019.
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Davis said more cruise lines are showing interest, which could bring more people in the future.
“If you look at 10-20,000 people a year who spend a few hundred dollars each, you can see how that seeps into the economy and helps other people too,” Davis said.
The new US customs facility in the Port of Cleveland.(WOIO)
We also learned that their brand new US customs facility has not yet been used.
International visitors will pass here for passport control.
Davis hopes it will be a welcome first impression of Cleveland.
“It’s not much, but it’s a big step in bringing people to Cleveland, and for a lot of those people it’s their first trip to the United States,” he said.
The new US Customs building cost about $ 650,000 paid for by the Port of Cleveland.
They paid for it because they said it was an economic advantage for the city.
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